Welcome back Mutant Lovers, as we delve into last week’s X-books and let you know what’s worth buying and what’s worth frying. This week, Infinite Speech, Capekiller, SpidermanGeek, and the Comic Book Clergyman had a ton of books to choose from. Let’s see what they had to say!
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
After a lackluster few issues, this title is finally back on track! In fact, the last issue was on my “Stay Away From” list on Tales From the Water Cooler, and if you know me and how much I have been enjoying this series, that’s saying a lot. What brings this issue back to the fore for me? A number of things.
First and foremost, Stuart Immonen just brings the story to life. He and Bendis have a synergy that’s unstoppable. Over the years, Immonen’s work has become more detailed, but has retained all the cartooning skill he’s always had. I’m a fan of art that portrays the character’s personality and emotion in the way they carry themselves in the book. Immonen is a master of allowing his figures to act out the feelings they are trying to express. Sure, Bendis does a great job of writing compelling dialogue, but Immonen takes it to the next level in drawing accurate facial expressions and body language. He uses it to make you feel Jean’s PTSD with all she’s been going through, he uses it for humor in Angel’s face as he’s literally stuck in between an argument between Scott and Jean, and he uses it in action as Iceman is falling off an ice slide as he’s being attacked by the Shi’ar. And who doesn’t love a blackboard with tons of Hank McCoy’s notes as he’s trying to figure out everything in the X-Universe?
This story starts us off on a quieter note, as the team has come back from fighting the Purifiers, but they don’t get much chance to rest on their laurels as Jean is kidnapped by the Shi’ar in this first issue of the “Trial of Jean Grey.” This, of course, hearkens back to the Dark Phoenix Saga which was the original trial of Jean Grey after she destroyed a planet. I’m interested to see what charges they’re going to bring up to young Jean this time. Added to the mix are the Guardians of the Galaxy, Bendis’ other charge, which could make for some really cool interactions. Giving Bendis free reign on this little crossover should be good and will hopefully propel both books forward, as he’s known for doing.
My criticisms in this book are few, but important. I think Angel needs more personality. Since he’s been in this series, he hasn’t developed much character. He could be the spoiled, cocky playboy that he was in the early days. He could be closer to the dark, brooding character that made him more popular. Or he could be something totally different, but I think he needs something soon. I’d also like this team to break out on their own and not be connected to Cyclops’ team. The more separate they are, the more Bendis can focus solely on this team’s interactions.
All-New X-Men has been a treat since it’s beginning, and this is a great jumping-on point for the new storyline. What are you waiting for? Jump! –JJ
Origin II #2
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Adam Kubert
Book 2 of the Origin II story was a let-down. As a long time Wolverine fan, I fail to believe that we have tapped the well dry in terms of stories for this character. Hell, I have a bunch of potential stories floating around in my head now! Unfortunately, the character who had a real hand (or should I say claw) in helping rebuild the comic image, is relegated to the same old treatment time, and time again.
The book had potential. Sinister of course is often a welcome addition to a story, and when he gathered his “Marauders”, I was pretty excited! But the capturing Wolverine for a circus angle… we have seen this before Mr. Gillen. And if it isn’t the circus it’s some other literary device symbolizing the macabre!
Don’t get me wrong, the book had its redeeming qualities. The Sabertooth/Clara duo was interesting, especially Clara. Actually, come to think of it, that was the only interesting thing. I’ll probably give this book one more issue, and then pull the plug if it doesn’t feel like it is going anywhere.
You can’t take a characters defining origin story, give it a sequel and not have a really, really solid story. Unfortunately for the readers, Kieron Gillen believes that his poetic delivery of the words supersede the story itself. Sorry Wolverine, my old buddy, you get the short end of the stick…again. Maybe one day Marvel will figure out that the best way to write a character born and raised out of the Canadian wilderness, might be to get a Canadian to write him. Or, you can go get a guy from the Uk who has probably never set foot in Canada, to talk to about a Canadian psyche in the Canadian wilderness. Should work out just fine….-CK
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Terry Dodson
If you haven’t been reading this series so far, here’s the quick rundown. The (adjective-less) X-Men title follows a grouping of select female mutants that reside at The Jean Grey School; mainly Storm, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Jubilee, Monet, Rogue, and more recently Karima Shapandar (formerly known as Omega Sentinel). Following their recent victory and capture of the villainous Arkea, the X-Men’s grounds were infiltrated by the trio of Lady Deathstrike, Typhoid Mary and Enchantress who managed to steal the bit of biotech that Arkea’s consciousness was trapped in. Now the X-Men are in pursuit once again with the help of John Sublime, but this time they also have Monet with them.
The X-ladies discover the location of the evil trio and Arkea to be in a biotech facility in Dubai. From that point on, the story pretty much goes into hyper mode and it’s really all up to Monet as she is the only one capable of reaching the facility in time. Once she reaches the building, we cut to the point of view of the villains and their actions thirty minutes prior to M’s arrival.
Brian Wood manages a to keep a great sense of tension coming from the other X-Men as they are nothing more than bystanders to the showdown while they frantically communicate with each from different locations around the globe. The same goes for the team of villains as Enchantress, now fully repowered thanks to Arkea, is left to face M on her own while the others escape to safety.
From there, the issue ends on a good cliffhanger that leaves the reader satisfied, yet clambering for more. We are at a stage in this series where Brian Wood is crafting quite the team of formidable opponents for these X-Men and it’s made all the more fun to read thanks to Terry and Rachel Dodson’s continually high caliber of artwork. Although as much as this estrogen filled title is a perfect fit for the Dodsons, I was a little distracted by how voluptuous Terry’s interpretation of Monet was. I guess it’s easy to forget that she’s not the teenager we once knew from Generation X and it also makes the fact that she’s the team’s muscle all that more evident.
The bottom line is that this series has already had as many bad issues as good ones, but this particular issue was fun. Hopefully, once this Arkea/Sublime stuff is over with, we’ll be able to witness the strengthening and growth of Lady Deathstrike’s “Sisterhood” as viable arch enemies to the X-Men. If Wood can keep the momentum going, it’s going to be a worthwhile read especially for female readers that might be looking for a team of heroes they can get behind and cheer for. –SG
Wolverine and the X-Men #40
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Pepe Larraz
For a while now Wolverine and the X-Men has been really hit and miss as it seemed to have been lacking the excitement and fun it started with. Well for the past couple of issues this has started to turn and as this one closes out it ends up being one of the best arcs we’ve seen in a while. As the two undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents have been found out by the students and Wolverine and Cyclops actually sit down and have the conversation that should have taken place about a year ago. Because let’s face it, this Schism is a bit old, played out, and hasn’t been exciting for quite some time.
This series has always been more interesting when the focus is on the students and Aaron brings a lot of what made this title great in the beginning right back. The students should be the stars of the title on a regular basis and Aaron keeps proving why. Their banter is excellent and they are believable as an actual team and have the capability to carry an entire issue. As well as everyone was written this issue I’d say that Aaron had Broo steal the show with his passion for homework! It also seems as if Aaron could have solved Schism a while back. The back and forth with Cyclops and Wolverine was convincing and a long time overdue. This is what needed to happen and proved just as exciting as if it had been a stretched out fight between the two.
This issue also looked great and definitely had all of the energy needed to move Aaron’s story. Pepe Larraz’s panels were dynamic as we frantically traveled the various levels of the mansion. The action was crazy but still easy to follow and the shift to Cyclops and Logan’s talk looked just as good. Matt Milla’s colors took it to the next level and pretty much stand out that much more throughout the issue!
Aaron has shown that Wolverine and the X-Men has everything it needs to be a top tier X title. A great cast and team dynamic is already there so if we can keep getting fun stories like this then everything should be great! – IS